Arrogant Minister costs State dearly

Shadow METRONET Minister, Tjorn Sibma, has called for the Minister for Transport to apologise to the Western Australian community, after it was revealed the Public Transport Authority’s Radio Systems Replacement would cost 50% more due to Ministerial incompetence.

“Today’s announcement by the Minister that the Radio Systems Replacement would cost over $120 million more than the 2018 original contract is another example of how Ms Saffioti’s arrogance is costing WA Taxpayers more.”

In 2018, WA Labor awarded a $206m contract to the Huawei-UGL consortium for the Public Transport Authority Radio Systems Replacement project despite warnings from the Commonwealth Government, industry experts and the opposition.

“Minister Saffioti was warned about potential problems the Huawei-UGL consortium might face in delivering the contract by the opposition, the then Commonwealth Coalition Government and industry experts. Those prescient warnings were ignored, and the obvious problems were denied, until reality bit,” Mr Sibma said.

“Minister Saffioti thought she knew best, and as a result of her arrogance WA Taxpayers will fork out $6.6 million to the Huawei-UGL consortium and pay an extra $120m in cost escalations.

“For these costs, which were easily avoidable, the very least the Minister can do is apologise. Mr Sibma said the project is another example of how Labor has failed to meet its commitment to Gold Standard Transparency.

“The procurement was shrouded in an exceptional level of secrecy which has become a hallmark of the McGowan Government. It was never formally announced, it apparently never went to cabinet, but access to the relevant documents was denied on the basis of cabinet confidentiality.

“With disastrous outcomes like this, it is no wonder that Mr McGowan refused to entrust Minister Saffioti with the Treasury portfolio following the 2021 election,” Mr Sibma said.